State Agrees To Endangered Species Status Evaluation For White Sturgeon

A push to get white sturgeon into Endangered Species Act protection status just received a step in that direction from the California Fish and Game Commission. Here’s more from Cal Matters:

California’s Fish and Game Commission unanimously approved white sturgeon as a candidate for listing, which launches a review by the Department of Fish and Wildlife to evaluate whether it is in enough danger to warrant being declared threatened or endangered. The review is expected to take at least a year.

In the meantime, white sturgeon will be protected under the California Endangered Species Act until the commission makes a final decision whether to list it as threatened or endangered. Harming or “taking” a species with any kind of project — such as water diversions — or activity such as fishing is “prohibited for candidate species the same as if it was fully listed,” said Steve Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the fish and wildlife agency. Permits and exemptions, however, can be granted in certain situations, he said.

Today’s decision comes in response to a petition filed by a coalition of environmental groups and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance for the species to be listed. They await a verdict on a federal petition, as well.